Qualcomm has just published their fiscal Q1 2013 financial results (PDF). For those of you who prefer calendars, it’s the quarter that ended on December 30, 2012. So how well did they do? They blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. Revenues are up nearly 30% year over year, toping $6 billion; net income is up 36% year over year, nearly hitting $2 billion; and MSM chip shipments hit 182 million units, up 17% year over year.
Why is Qualcomm so successful? They were the first company to see that phone manufacturers spent way too much time making various components talk to each other. Companies like Nokia used to buy an application processor, graphics processor, modem, WiFi chip, GPS chip, Bluetooth chip, and then hire an army of engineers to make sure they all worked together. But then Snapdragon was born and it came with everything you needed to make a phone, except for the screen and the plastic body.
What’s Qualcomm got up their sleeves this year? The Snapdragon 600 and 800, two new processors using the company’s new branding. Both of them are faster than the fastest Snapdragon S4 Pro that’s currently shipping, but we can’t say how much faster since we’ve yet to run our own benchmarks.
Can anyone rain on Qualcomm’s parade and steal their thunder? Lots of companies are fighting the good fight. NVIDIA bought a cellular modem company. Intel’s been trying to get people to take them seriously. Broadcom is going to launch their own chip with integrated 4G LTE at some point in 2014. The list goes on and on. The thing is though, Qualcomm is at least two to three years ahead of the competition.
And what about Samsung? Samsung is a special case. They use their own chips in their high end devices, but when it comes to the rest of their portfolio they have no problem outsourcing.